By Sen. Frank Ginn (R–Danielsville)

With the end of week seven, we are officially less than two weeks away from Crossover Day. This is the last chance for bills originating in the Senate to pass out and be eligible in the House. We’re moving at a quick pace with multiple bills and resolutions for consideration. I am proud to announce a measure I sponsored, Senate Bill 319, was passed in Chamber on Monday. This legislation serves to protect the private property rights of people above and below a Category II dam. There are thousands of dams in Georgia and each one provides better water quality, recreational opportunities and improved wildlife and fisheries. We want to protect our citizens, while also safeguarding our dams.

Senate Bill 322, which I also sponsored, was passed in Chamber last Friday. As a reminder, SB 322 would allow an exemption from developmental impact fees for affordable housing projects. With the number of growing jobs in Georgia, people should not be forced to look away because of the cost of housing. This legislation will give local control in order for local governments to be able to waive impact fees for affordable housing projects, thus making housing more attainable for everyone. SB 322 is pro-jobs, pro-growth and pro-Georgia.

Another piece of legislation that we passed in Chamber was Senate Bill 294. SB 294 would allow the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia to invest in alternative investments. Currently, the law allows large retirement systems to invest in alternative investments, however, the Teachers Retirement System was not authorized to do so. This bill would remove the prohibition and allow the TRS the additional option to diversify their investments to secure a stable retirement for educators.

On Wednesday, the Natural Resources and the Environment Committee passed Senate Bill 407, which I cosponsored. SB 407 would regulate the harvest and sale of palmetto berries. Palmetto berry theft is a growing concern in Georgia and this legislation will protect private property owners from losing thousands of dollars’ worth of berries. Furthermore, a certificate of harvest will be required in order to harvest palmetto berries under this bill.

Additionally, we had the privilege of recognizing and commending the Georgia Studio and Infrastructure Alliance in the Chamber on Monday by passing Senate Resolution 755. The Georgia Studio and Infrastructure Alliance is an educational advocacy group for studio/production support businesses in Georgia’s film and television industry. They represent the tens of thousands of hard-working citizens in Georgia’s film and television industry. Georgia has one of the best film incentive programs in the country and I am proud to support an industry that has brought in thousands of new jobs. In light of new audit data, I will be working with my colleagues to insure our incentives pay large dividends for our citizens.

Representing the 47th District to the best of my abilities is my number one priority. If you have any questions about legislation, the budget, or the budgeting process please feel free to contact my office by phone or email. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

Sen. Frank Ginn serves as Chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee. He represents the 47th Senate District which includes Barrow and Madison counties and portions of Clarke and Jackson counties. He can be reached at 404.656.4700 or by email at frank.ginn@senate.ga.gov.

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